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'59 Karmann Ghia fever
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Trylon Premium Member
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:54 pm    Post subject: '59 Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

New to the site ... and to the car. Thinking about succumbing to my Karmann Ghia fever and would appreciate any insight regarding a claim the current owner makes regarding the KG he is selling:

“Frame-off restoration 2009. Nose, floor pans, and engine compartment all rust-free. Paint is excellent with some small scratches but NO DENTS. 6 Small rust bubbles (largest is the size of a pea) on rocker panels but upon discussion with VW Body shop/mechanic, this is contained and easily repairable.”

Even my limited acquaintance with the Karmann Ghia leads me to suspect that the rust bubbles alluded to may not be so easily repairable. Might it in fact be easily contained or are my suspicions well-founded?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

As a general rule, when you see a rust body on a Ghia's Rocker Panel...... damage is well underway.

The rickers are a complex assembly of multiple panels all draining diwn to the point of a "V".

These units interior panels rust first and then migrate to the exterior paint.

Be very cautious, it isn't an easy or cheap repair.

Dave
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
As a general rule, when you see a rust body on a Ghia's Rocker Panel...... damage is well underway.

The rickers are a complex assembly of multiple panels all draining diwn to the point of a "V".

These units interior panels rust first and then migrate to the exterior paint.

Be very cautious, it isn't an easy or cheap repair.

Dave


Thanks. Confirms my worst fears. Does nothing to allay the fever, though. So, its at least cut out the bad, weld in the good, and a new paint job?

Michael

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TDCTDI
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

It’s never as easy as “just cut out the bad”. Once you begin that process, you will find more & when you do, you’re at the point of no return unless you abandon it.

Take your fingernails & tap on the rockers, do they sound like metal or does it sound like you’re tapping on a Bayliner? Just a few rust bubbles means that an earlier repair was just to hide a much worse problem, or that the metal has rusted through from the back side & either way, that paint is the only thing remaining sorta solid.


How much are they asking for your muse? If you know that it needs extensive rust repair but it’s a driver & they want $2,500, you can overlook some of the ills. If it needs all the above but they’re asking $20,000, then it’s another story.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
It’s never as easy as “just cut out the bad”. Once you begin that process, you will find more & when you do, you’re at the point of no return unless you abandon it.

Take your fingernails & tap on the rockers, do they sound like metal or does it sound like you’re tapping on a Bayliner? Just a few rust bubbles means that an earlier repair was just to hide a much worse problem, or that the metal has rusted through from the back side & either way, that paint is the only thing remaining sorta solid.


How much are they asking for your muse? If you know that it needs extensive rust repair but it’s a driver & they want $2,500, you can overlook some of the ills. If it needs all the above but they’re asking $20,000, then it’s another story.


Your advice is like a dose of quinine. Mine my be the shortest membership on Samba to date. They are indeed asking $20K+: https://www.classiccarguy.com/details_new.asp?id=3497
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

It could be worse, you could have already bought it & then come here for us to point out all of it’s pitfalls & realized that you’d just been taken.Laughing

She definitely looks great, but I wouldn’t want to pay that for it knowing that it might take that much more to make it right.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
It could be worse, you could have already bought it & then come here for us to point out all of it’s pitfalls & realized that you’d just been taken.Laughing

She definitely looks great, but I wouldn’t want to pay that for it knowing that it might take that much more to make it right.


Yes, being acutely aware of my shortcomings, I tend to seek sound advice where I can find it. Thanks for offering yours! Automobiles are solely an aesthetic experience for me so you can see why I am drawn to this one. With my skill set, I really have no business even thinking about assuming caretakership of a 50+ year old vehicle.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 7:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

That hideous interior alone should scare you off. What is this? 1992?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:32 am    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

Braukuche wrote:
That hideous interior alone should scare you off. What is this? 1992?

Nope, that came from a Bayliner too. Laughing


For what it's worth. the pans appear to be in great shape, but I doubt that the body has ever been separated from it. I would expect that someone would have done lots of cleaning & repainting of the pan if they had it off & that looks like it's never been touched.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:43 am    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
Braukuche wrote:
That hideous interior alone should scare you off. What is this? 1992?

Nope, that came from a Bayliner too. Laughing


For what it's worth. the pans appear to be in great shape, but I doubt that the body has ever been separated from it. I would expect that someone would have done lots of cleaning & repainting of the pan if they had it off & that looks like it's never been touched.


Attempting to follow the homily “buy the best you can afford” to get my foot in the door. Looks pretty clean and well cared for, if a bit on the mariner side, and inching it toward 1963 seemed worthwhile. Looking for the shadow of doubt here: are there any circumstance where the bubbles could indeed not be a deal breaker?
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:04 am    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

Get better pictures of the lower 1/3 of the car. First off, from the pics in the ad, I do not see the rear torsion bar access covers. The absence of these usually sets off all sorts of alarms screaming that the car has been covered in Bondo. That shiny paint is probably covering all sorts of nastiness underneath, ESPECIALLY since rust is already bubbling back through.

If you truly like the car, pay for someone that knows Karmann Ghias to inspect it & pick it apart. If you are comfortable with taking it, with whatever flaws it has, offer the seller $5,000-$7,000 less than what they're asking & enjoy it as a driver.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:01 am    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

TDCTDI wrote:
Get better pictures of the lower 1/3 of the car. First off, from the pics in the ad, I do not see the rear torsion bar access covers. The absence of these usually sets off all sorts of alarms screaming that the car has been covered in Bondo. That shiny paint is probably covering all sorts of nastiness underneath, ESPECIALLY since rust is already bubbling back through.

If you truly like the car, pay for someone that knows Karmann Ghias to inspect it & pick it apart. If you are comfortable with taking it, with whatever flaws it has, offer the seller $5,000-$7,000 less than what they're asking & enjoy it as a driver.


It is going to be inspected Monday and an extensive report forwarded to me. I asked for photos of the areas you mentioned and will post them. Thanks for the hand-holding and sage advice!
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:07 am    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

I'm not trying to go against the current with my suggestion but I feel it is worth mentioning. To dovetail with TDCTDI's comment about hiring a pro to inspect it, you can get/borrow a bore scope camera and take a look inside the rocker and heater channels via the three access holes in each rear wheel well. My Ghia had rust bubbles on the rockers but on closer internal inspection with a bore scope I found the damage is localized to the outer rocker skin (in odd locations) and the internal rust is mostly superficial. I still need to replace some metal but it is more cosmetic than structural. You are wise to have asked for advice before exceeding you limitations. There are many nice Ghias available. Keep looking and asking for feedback, the right one will find you soon enough.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:42 am    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

That car has been for sale off and on for a looooong time. I think I've been through 2 or 3 cars since the first time I saw it listed for sale.

I concur with what others have said about rust, and quick bodge "restorations". It's also worth noting that the engine lid is from a '69 or later car because it has the cutout for the rain tray.
And the freeway flier transmissions are generally marketed to people who don't understand that air cooled engines are meant to rev high to stay cool. Running a .82 4th gear is a great way to overheat your engine because the cooling fan won't be moving fast enough to push enough air to cool the engine.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

Evil_Fiz wrote:
I'm not trying to go against the current with my suggestion but I feel it is worth mentioning. To dovetail with TDCTDI's comment about hiring a pro to inspect it, you can get/borrow a bore scope camera and take a look inside the rocker and heater channels via the three access holes in each rear wheel well. My Ghia had rust bubbles on the rockers but on closer internal inspection with a bore scope I found the damage is localized to the outer rocker skin (in odd locations) and the internal rust is mostly superficial. I still need to replace some metal but it is more cosmetic than structural. You are wise to have asked for advice before exceeding you limitations. There are many nice Ghias available. Keep looking and asking for feedback, the right one will find you soon enough.

-----
Emil


Good to hear other possibilities. Thanks for the guidance and bit of hope. Adding to the urgency is a quickly aging TTS which at the moment is a near 1-for-1 trade for this car.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

Era Vulgaris wrote:
That car has been for sale off and on for a looooong time. I think I've been through 2 or 3 cars since the first time I saw it listed for sale.

I concur with what others have said about rust, and quick bodge "restorations". It's also worth noting that the engine lid is from a '69 or later car because it has the cutout for the rain tray.
And the freeway flier transmissions are generally marketed to people who don't understand that air cooled engines are meant to rev high to stay cool. Running a .82 4th gear is a great way to overheat your engine because the cooling fan won't be moving fast enough to push enough air to cool the engine.


Very interesting information. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

[quote="TDCTDI"]It could be worse, you could have already bought it & then come here for us to point out all of it’s pitfalls & realized that you’d just been taken.Laughing

Must be referring to me...lol
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

Seems that the source of my fever is currently listed on Samba as well:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2286059

A bit more information is provided in that listing versus the ClassicCarGuy one. Seems that Midwest Autosavers (http://www.midwestautosavers.com/) is the source of the pronouncement regarding the ease with which the rust can be contained.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

I still don’t see spring plate access covers & the ill fitting headlight trim rings scream bondo bucket.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Karmann Ghia fever Reply with quote

iboughtrustandbondo wrote:

Must be referring to me...lol

Nope, but yours is a great example.

Unfortunately, far too many people experience the same issues that you have.
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